|Production Notes - Dr. No
of James Bond, 007 from the printed page to the big screen was
not an easy passage. The journey began in May 1954 when Gregory
Ratoff, the Russian-born director / producer, successfully bid
for the television rights to Ian
Fleming's first Bond novel, Casino
Royale. Ratoff subsequently bowdlerized the novel and presented
a drastically altered version as part of the Climax Mystery Theater
anthology show in October of 1954.
so impressed by his creation that in March 1955 he bought the
full screen rights to Casino Royale for the then princely sum
of $6,000. Fleming was on something a roll at this time, penning
a screenplay based on his then current novel Moonraker for Rank
who eventually dithered for so long over whether to commit to
the project that it simply never got made.
Above: Sean Connery poses for
a publicity shot as James Bond.
In 1956, Fleming,
produced a 28 page script titled James Gunn - Secret Agent for
Henry Morgenthau III, a New York based producer who had entered
into a deal with the Jamaican government, hoping to turn the island
into a major film production centre. Given that Fleming had fallen
in love with Jamaica and set up home there [living in a huge mansion
he dubbed Goldeneye], the writer seemed the perfect choice to
assist Morgenthau in his frankly rather oddball scheme.
the Gunn treatment as the springboard for a whole TV show and felt
that the cachet attached to Fleming's name would be sure to attract
US TV executives and their money and influence. The half-hour pilot
would pit secret agent Commander Bond against Oriental super-villain
Doctor No who, working with German scientists, was planning to
sabotage the West's attempts to reach space by interfering with
a launch site based in the Caribbean.
the end of 1956, the project was dead, Morgenthau's grand
schemes coming to nothing. Fleming, never one to waste
good material, reworked the script as the basis for his
1957 novel Dr No, resurrecting Bond who, at the climax
of the previous novel From
Russia With Love, had been
left for dead.
immediately, interest was piqued in the film industry
- one small company made initial inquiries about obtaining
the rights to Dr No but was shouldered out of the way
when US TV giant CBS lumbered into frame, the company's
president Hubell Robinson keen to adapt Bond into the
star of a 13-part TV series. Fleming dug out his tattered
copy of the James Gunn script, rewrote it for Bond and
would once again watch as the project ran aground.
Fleming was probably beginning to despair of ever seeing
his beloved James Bond reach the big screen by this stage,
despite an extraordinary amount of work on his part.
The next attempt to film Bond would also fail to come
to fruition, but it was at least to have some impact
on the future of the suave secret agent's screen career.
In 1958, Ivar Bryce, a close friend of Fleming's, introduced
the writer to a young Irish film maker named Kevin McClory.
Bryce and McClory had already worked together on the
low budget The Boy and the Bridge, a film which Fleming
saw in rough cut and enjoyed very much.
The leading ladies of "Dr No" -
Eunice Gayson played Sylvia Trench (top) and would
reprise her role in "From Russia With Love". Ursula
Andress played the major female role of Honey Ryder.
to throw in his lot with Bryce and McClory and for the next couple
of years the threesome, joined by another of Fleming's friends,
Ernest Cuneo, worked away on a number of possible screen treatments
between Fleming and McClory were often strained, the partnership
seemed to have been successful enough for Kinematograph Weekly
to announce, on 1 October 1959, that McClory had in fact begun
pre-production on James Bond of the Secret Service which would
reflect McClory's love of water sports and feature a number of
underwater scenes. Shooting would begin, we were assured, some
time in February of 1960.
1960 came and went and there was no sign of James Bond
of the Secret Service. In fact the partnership had failed
to find the funding they needed for their ambitious project
and it simply faded away.
was to re-use some of the ideas generated by the project
in his novel Thunderball
which led to a long running legal battle between the
author, McClory and the producers that would eventually
get the film series off the ground.
of the unsung players in the tortured history of James
Bond on the screen has been solicitor Brian Lewis who
numbered among his clients Fleming and a Canadian film
producer named Harry
Saltzman. It was Lewis who arranged
for Fleming and Saltzman to meet in 1960 and who, perhaps
inadvertently, laid the foundations for one of the longest
running and most profitable film series in history.
a result of this meeting, Saltzman bought an option on
the Bond novels but, with his six months option about
to expire, Saltzman was still finding it difficult to
raise capital when, in May 1961, screenwriter Wolf Mankowitz
suggested that Saltzman should talk to another producer
who was interested in Bond, New Yorker Albert
R. 'Cubby' Broccoli.
Joseph Wiseman took on the titular role of Dr No (top),
stumbling geologist henchman Professor Dent played by Anthony
been in the film industry for years and, in 1952, had teamed up
with Irving Allen to create Warwick Films which turned out plenty
of cheap and now forgotten quota quickies throughout the 1950s,
one of which had been the war film The Red Beret , directed
by Terence Young and co-written by Richard Maibaum, both of whom
would also figure prominently in the Bond story.
In fact Broccoli
and Maibaum had already considered their own version of Bond
in 1958 when the producer asked Maibaum to read the novels
and see if he could come up with a workable treatment. That
version never made it, finally killed when Warwick Films folded
luck would have it, Saltzman was also at a bit of a loose
end in 1960 - he still had his option on Bond, but his
partnership with John Osborne and Tony Richardson [who
together comprised the production company Woodfall] had
dissolved. When Broccoli and Saltzman met, they - reluctantly
at first - decided to pool their resources.
time was running out on Saltzman's option and the producers
had to move quickly. They formed a new company, Danjaq
[formed from an amalgam of their wives names, Dana
Broccoli and Jacqueline Saltzman] and used Saltzman's
citizenship to allow them to base their company in
Switzerland. The British arm of the operation was called
- long held to be an acronym for Everything Or Nothing,
though Broccoli later denied that this was the case.
race was now on to secure the all important financing
that their Bond project would need. Columbia were the
first of the studios to express an interest but they
backed out when they felt unable to commit to any more
than $400,000, a sum that EON felt just wasn't enough.
Broccoli then began to pursue United Artists and was
told by their chairman, Arthur Krim, that he and Saltzman
should talk to fellow UA executive David Picker. On
20 June 1961, the two producers arrived
at United Artists'
headquarters in New York ready to give their pitch.
Forty minutes later, the deal was
done and UA were on board
for a six-picture deal. James Bond was finally going
to reach the big screen.
James Bond makes fast friends with Felix Leiter (played
by Jack Lord - top) and Quarrel (played by John Kitzmiller).
of Bond's film career went virtually unnoticed by the trade press,
except for a few brief notices announcing the forthcoming film
as one of a slate of productions being readied by Saltzman and
Broccoli. But while the rest of the world carried on blissfully
unaware of what was coming, the producers had hired writer Richard
Maibaum to work on a treatment based on Thunderball.
But that messy
court case surrounding the novel was to rear its ugly head and
frightened Saltzman and Broccoli away, though not before Maibaum
had actually finished his first draft screenplay. Instead, they
turned their attentions to Dr No which was now being prepared
by Maibaum and Wolf Mankowitz.
was one vital element still missing from the production - Saltzman
and Broccoli didn't have anyone yet to play Bond. On 5 October
1961, Kinematograph Weekly announced that production on Dr No
would not now take place until the following year, allowing the
producers to concentrate on their search for a star.
A national newspaper
ran a competition looking for the screen Bond and had whittled
down more than 1,000 contestants to a more manageable six, all
of whom were screen tested by EON at Twickenham studios. Of the
six, one man emerged as the clear leader - a young model named
Peter Anthony. But he was ultimately deemed unsuitable, though
as consolation, he was offered a small part in the film, though
he eventually failed to appear.
were reportedly being considered for the role at this time included
Richard Johnson [who would later play another fictional British
secret agent, Bulldog Drummond], Roger
Moore, Rex Harrison, Trevor
Howard, Max Von Sydow and Patrick
McGoohan. The latter was reportedly
offered the role but he turned it down, appalled by the character's
brutality and wanton behaviour. Broccoli himself, meanwhile,
keen on pursuing Cary Grant for the role. Fleming favoured either
David Niven, Moore or his cousin, Christopher
Lee, with his neighbour
Noel Coward, as Dr No, all of whom were deemed unsuitable for
one reason or another. In fact Coward himself turned down the
part, famously sending a telegraph to the producers which simply
read: "Dr. No? No! No! No!"
time that Sean Connery's name went into the hat was at a dinner
party attended by Saltzman and his wife at the Polish club in
London. Also present were producer Benjamin Fisz, and editor Peter
Hunt [then finishing off work on a comedy, On The Fiddle, for
Fisz and himself a key player in later Bond films]. During dinner,
Saltzman mentioned the problems that he and Broccoli had been
having in finding the right man to play Bond when Fisz mentioned
to Hunt that Connery, who was appearing in the still unfinished
On the Fiddle, might fit the bill.
a couple of reels of On the Fiddle featuring Connery for Saltzman,
while in the States, Broccoli had already seen Connery's work
in the successful Disney comedy-musical Darby O'Gill and the
Little People . Connery, a former naval rating, milkman
and labourer, had been toiling away in film and TV since 1957,
never really achieving the sort of roles that would best suit
his obvious talents.
October 1961, Connery was invited to EON's offices in
Mayfair, London, for the first of a series of interviews
with Saltzman and Broccoli. The producers were impressed
by what they saw - Broccoli liked the young Scot's body
language and Saltzman later revealed [on the BBC's Whicker's
World in 1967] that they simply "liked the way he
only one other actor who moves as well as he does, and
that's Albert Finney. They move like
cats... for a big man to be light on his feet is most
Artists were initially reluctant to employ Connery, feeling
that Saltzman and Broccoli could do rather better if
they tried hard enough. But Saltzman and Broccoli stood
their ground and Connery was offered a multi-picture
deal in late October 1961.
Daily Cinema announced the casting of Connery on 3 November
1961 and Connery was immediately the attention of much
press speculation and interest - his best print 'performance'
was clearly his interview with Susan Barnes for The Sunday
Express published on 31 December 1961 which culminated
in Connery and Barnes debating violence towards women
and Barnes "beating a rapid retreat" from the
rising star's apartment!
Sean Connery meets Ian Fleming on the set of Dr No's
control room (top), Bond is in a clinch with Miss Taro (played
by Zena Marshall).
Saltzman and Broccoli had employed Terence Young to direct Dr
No after Bryan Forbes, Guy Green and future Bond director Guy
Hamilton had all passed on the project. The dapper Young took
Connery under his wing and immediately took him off to his shirt
makers in Paris and London and insisted on being present at all
of Connery's wardrobe sessions. Young's attention to detail was
to result in an image that has remained constant throughout over
30 years of film-making.
By the end of
1961, Saltzman and Broccoli were just about ready to begin shooting.
The script was still not ready [it wasn't helped much by the departure
of Mankowitz after a series of disagreements with the producers].
In desperation, and with only a few days to go before shooting
was due to begin, Broccoli took Young to the Dorchester and installed
him in a suite with one of his assistants, Johanna Harwood, to
work over the script. By the end of the first week in January they
emerged with a workable screenplay and shooting finally began on
Tuesday 16 January 1962 in Jamaica.
had been preparing for the shoot, Saltzman and Broccoli had been
looking for the first in a long series of Bond girls - the hunt
was on for the big screen Honey Ryder whose spectacular entrance
in the novel (she emerges naked from the sea) was clearly going
to have to be altered to suit 1960s cinematic tastes. It was Young
who had first spotted Ursula
Andress in late 1961, allegedly spotting
a picture of the young Swiss actress wearing a wet T-shirt on
office wall of Darryl F. Zanuck, head of Twentieth Century Fox.
Zanuck had no plans to use Andress in anything and gave Young
the photograph to take back to London with him.
In late 1961,
after considering Andress for almost a month, Broccoli asked for
advice from Columbia's casting chief Max Arno who was suitably
impressed by the actress' looks. Arno's word was good enough for
Saltzman and Broccoli who had Andress flown from Los Angeles to
New York and on to the set in Jamaica at the end of January.
The EON crew
arrived in Jamaica on Sunday 14 January 1962 and began shooting
two days later, taking in locations at Palisadoes Airport, Kingston,
Montego Bay and Oncaros. Much use was made of local talent to
play smaller roles: Dolores Keator was cast as Strangways' secretary
Mary Prescott because she owned the house that the crew were shooting
in; other local amateur actors took the tiny roles of the Chief
of Police and the construction worker who watches the car carrying
the thugs pursuing Bond as it careens over the edge of the cliff.
Keeping it in the family, the bartender seen at Puss-Feller's
club was a relative of costume designer Tessa Welborn.
When the main
unit relocated to Laughing Water to shoot the scene where Honey
Ryder memorably emerges from the sea, they found themselves literally
just down the beach from Goldeneye and Fleming himself visited
the set with friends and neighbours Noel Coward and Stephen Spender
and visiting journalist Peter Quennell. Fleming even spent some
time with Connery advising him on the best way to play Bond.
to the set on 17 February when the crew had moved on to Falmouth
to watch the crew staging the scene wherein Bond and Honey
hide behind a sand bank after being shot at by No's guards
aboard a boat. The sequence had to be reshot after a detachment
of American sailors, alerted by the sound of gunfire, rushed
to the scene to see what was going on!
location work finally came to an end on 21 February with some
material still left unfilmed due to a change in the weather.
He was able to pick up a few scenes later, but for now the
production was heading back to the UK and Pinewood Studios
where production designer Ken Adam had been constructing his
vast, awesome sets.
Pinewood, one of the enduring icons of the Bond series
was about to make her debut after a rather strange introduction
to Saltzman and Broccoli. Canadian actress Lois
Maxwell had taken to calling round various directors and producers
touting for work after her husband had suffered a double
coronary on her son's second birthday.
was becoming increasingly worried about her finances
and was calling
on people who had employed her in the past on the off-chance
that they might have something to offer her.
Young offered her a choice - she could either play Sylvia
Trench, Bond's first on-screen conquest, or Miss Moneypenny,
the ever-adoring secretary to Bond's superior, M.
was concerned about the scene in which Bond finds Trench
in his room wearing only one of his shirts and opted
to take the role of Moneypenny. For this she received £200
for two days work and had to supply her own wardrobe. No
doubt at the time she was grateful for the money and she
was certainly grateful for the increased exposure the role
was to bring her in later years.
Above: Dr No in his control room
(top), Moneypenny and Bond outside M's office.
On 25 February,
with only one more day to go before studio filming began, Connery
and Maxwell were joined by Bernard
Lee who was signed to play
M, head of the 00 section. Young later claimed that Lee only
the job "because everyone else was away" but he proved
to be an inspired choice who, like Maxwell, was to become a regular
fixture throughout the first part of the Bond series.
30 March, the main shooting schedule came to an end and the all-important
post-production period began. While Peter Hunt pieced together
Young's footage, Broccoli commissioned Monty Norman to write the
soundtrack. The men had worked together before, on the ill-fated
stage musical Belle which had died a nasty death. This didn't
put Broccoli off, however, and he had offered Norman the chance
to fly out to Jamaica to get a feel for the place and for the
Back in the
UK, Norman began work on his calypso-flavoured score and work
was proceeding nicely when someone suggested that the film should
begin with a distinctive theme tune. Rifling through his back
catalogue, Norman came across a song that he had composed for
an un-produced stage musical of the satirical novel A House For
Mr Biswas by V.S. Naipaul. The distinctively strident little tune
was just what he was looking for.
contribution to the finished film was to be somewhat less than
he had expected. Though the tune was felt to be almost right,
something was missing. Noel Rodgers, then head of music at United
Artists, called in composer John Barry and his ensembles The John
Barry Seven and The John Barry Orchestra to overhaul the piece.
Barry's masterstroke was to let his guitarist, Vic Flick, loose
on the main riff before his brass section kicked in to awesome
effect. Exactly how much of Norman's original still remained is
unclear as there are clear precedents to the theme tune in Barry's
own work. But whatever it's parentage the distinctive twangy guitar
into has been heard in every one of the 'official' Bond films
made since and has become an integral part of the Bond mythos.
By July 1962
Dr No was in sufficient shape for Young to hold a private screening
at the Traveller's Club in London attended by Ian Fleming and
his wife Anne, the Duke and Duchess of Bedford, Lord and Lady
Beesborough, John Sutro and Peter Quennell. The event was far
from the success that Young might have hoped. Anne Fleming, in
a letter to Evelyn Waugh, noted that "it was an abominable
occasion" and was appalled at the gales of laughter that
greeted the scene of the tarantula crawling up Bond's body. Fleming
himself hated what he saw. Following another preview in Leicester
Square he took his research assistant Peter Garnham to a pub and
dismissed the film as "Dreadful. Simply dreadful."
that same year, Fleming's attitude had softened slightly: he
Time that fans of the books would be disappointed that those
who had never read Bond's adventures in print would "find
it a wonderful movie."
No was unveiled to the British press at the London Pavilion
on 2 October
1962 and it opened to the public there three days later before
going on general release on the 8th. The press were divided,
the public adored the film and Dr No was a huge success. The
film had its US premiere on Thursday 7 March 1963, a star-studded
on Broadway [Connery was in attendance as were Leonard Bernstein,
Phyllis Newman, Faye Emerson, Patrice Munsel, Zsa Zsa Gabor
many others] followed by an equally glamorous supper party at
the Tower Suite. Despite a generally positive reception, United
Artists were still unsure of what they had on their hands,
and delayed its release in the States until 8 May 1963. It repeated
its success Stateside and the impressive return on the film's
$1 million outlay virtually ensured that a sequel was to follow.